North Carolina

Fourth person dies in Legionnaires’ outbreak at North Carolina fair, officials say

A fourth person has died in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to a North Carolina state fair, health officials said Friday.

The latest death in an outbreak of the lung disease was announced in a report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. According to the report, 141 people who attended the NC Mountain State Fair in September have contracted the disease, including 94 hospitalizations.

The outbreak of the disease is linked to a hot tub display in the Davis Event Center during the fair from Sept. 6 to Sept. 15 in Fletcher, near Asheville, The News Observer reported. Those diagnosed with the disease were “much more likely to report having walked by the hot tub displays” that were in the event center than those who weren’t diagnosed, health officials said.

On Thursday, the first case of Legionnaires’ disease in a person who didn’t attend the fair was reported, according to McClatchy news group. The person attended a quilt show at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, where the fair was held, health officials said.

Legionnaires’ is a type of pneumonia caused by an infection with Legionella bacteria, health officials said. People get the disease when they breathe in water droplets that contain the bacteria.

Rentals of the Davis Event Center were suspended by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services while an industrial cleaning of the building was underway, officials said. Legionella wasn’t found after the cleanup, officials said.

Here’s a breakdown of Legionnaires’ disease cases by county:

▪ Buncombe County: 49

▪ Burke County: 1

▪ Caswell County: 1

▪ Cherokee County: 1

▪ Gaston County: 1

▪ Granville County: 1

▪ Haywood County: 12

▪ Henderson County: 34

▪ Jackson County: 3

▪ Madison County: 6

▪ McDowell County: 5

▪ Mecklenburg County: 5

▪ Mitchell County: 2

▪ Polk County: 1

▪ Rutherford County: 3

▪ Transylvania County: 3

▪ Union County: 1

▪ Watauga County: 1

▪ Yancey County: 1

▪ Out of State: 10

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.